The EU and NATO pledged on Tuesday to provide Ukrainians with all the necessary military means to defend their homeland. Discussions are scheduled for ‘next week’ on the types of weapons that can be supplied, its leaders announced.
“Discussions are planned next week with the Ukrainians to see what types of weapons are needed and who among the allies is capable of supplying them,” Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after signing the deal. institutions of the European Union.
These discussions will take place within the Ramstein group (the contact group for the defense of Ukraine) created by the United States, he specified. The meeting to which the Ukrainian Defense Minister will participate will be organized in Germany, NATO said.
The command of the American air forces in Europe then indicated that the coordination meeting will be held on January 20 at the American base in Ramstein. Defense ministers and senior military officials from member countries of the Ramstein group will meet with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, added a statement from the command.
It will be the third meeting in this format since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th.
In Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, for a surprise visit, Germany’s foreign minister heard his Ukrainian counterpart repeat his call for Leopard tanks, stressing that the longer Berlin waits ‘the more civilian deaths there will be.
This was the first visit by a Western high representative to this war-torn town near the Russian border, which was bombed again hours after Annalena Baerbock’s surprise visit, accompanied by her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kouleba, announced the regional governor.
An AFP journalist heard several explosions in the city, which has been relatively spared lately from Russian attacks.
Invited by her counterpart Dmytro Kouleba, Annalena Baerbock guaranteed that Ukraine can count on Germany’s “solidarity” and “support”.
The minister said she had provided ‘a new package’ of aid worth 20 million euros for mine clearance and the same amount for the development of the Starlink Internet access network. She also announced new deliveries of generators for the Ukrainian power infrastructure systematically bombed by Russia.
But Ukraine above all demands the delivery of western war tanks, and Berlin has not yet responded favorably to its request for the delivery of its ‘Leopard 2’ armored vehicles, heavy equipment of recognized technology.
‘Russia has suffered heavy losses, but it should not be underestimated. Mobilize more troops and equipment. She is ready to suffer to continue the war. Vladimir Putin has not changed his objective and we must prepare ourselves to support Ukraine in the long term”, insisted Jens Stoltenberg.
“Ukraine must be given all the military equipment it needs and can use to defend its territory,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Europeans were the first to supply Ukraine with military equipment shortly after the conflict began, recalled the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. ‘Military support must continue to ensure that Ukraine can defend itself,’ said the representative of the member states.
The Ukrainian government asks the allies to supply tanks, in particular the German Leopard 2s.
France, Germany and the United States have announced the deployment of armored vehicles – French AMX-10s, German Marders and American Bradleys – but each has different weapons and uses different ammunition.
‘It’s not just about adding more air defense systems, more weapons, but also ensuring that the systems and weapons already supplied work as they should, which means that we also have to guarantee the supply of necessary ammunition, spare parts and maintenance. of the systems that are already delivered,” warned Jens Stoltenberg.
“The allies have gone deep in their stocks and they must be replenished in order to be able to protect our territories and continue to provide support to Ukraine,” he defended.
In their joint declaration, the EU and NATO pledged to take their partnership “to a higher level” and to mobilize “all the combined instruments at our disposal, be they political, economic or military, to pursue our common objectives “.
Complement NATO and EU
Of the 27 EU member countries, 21 are also NATO members and two others, Finland and Sweden, submitted a joint bid to join the Alliance in May, abandoning decades of military non-alignment.
“NATO and the EU play complementary, coherent and mutually reinforcing roles in supporting international peace and security,” the statement said.
For the first time, the Atlantic Alliance recognizes “the value of a stronger and more efficient European defense, which contributes positively to global and transatlantic security and which is complementary and interoperable with NATO”.
‘The EU’s strategic autonomy is more necessary than ever’, insisted Charles Michel, underlining the European Union’s desire to be ‘more independent’ in energy terms and ‘complementary to NATO in defense and security’.